by Adriana Albi Davies, Ph.D.
As the west developed and immigration was encouraged by the Government of Canada, Alberta and British Columbia, interconnected as they were by geography and resources, became destinations. Work in mines was the lure but, frequently, after starting in the mines, Italian labourers moved to railway and road
construction. As well, they were drawn to a range of occupations in urban centres such as Edmonton and Calgary. Less frequently, they turned to homesteading. This was riskier and regular mine wages were attractive in spite of the dangers.
This was important, since the initial motivation was to make money and return to their families in
It soon became clear that Alberta was a suitable place to remain and raise a family. Some married couples came together and, increasingly, men either went to Italy to choose brides or proxy marriages were arranged for them. It was at this point that they began to exert an influence on the communities in which they lived.